Talking point: talent management

is the most important thing that HR should be doing to optimise the
contribution of talent in an organisation and to accelerate its growth? Experts
and senior HR practitioners sum up their views in a few words.

Charles-Jones, HR director RAC, on engaging the board and colleagues:

HR has a key role
to play in any business by getting the discussion on talent on to the business
agenda.  That means that we have a
responsibility to drive both the debate on talent and the actions that come out
of this.

This is best
achieved by being pragmatic in how we approach the discussion. Put the debate
in the context of the challenges and priorities that our business faces and be
clear on our talent management process – how we review talent in the business
and where the key skill gaps are.  If we
engage our fellow directors/line managers in this debate, they will then both
input to and own the outcomes.

We then need to
facilitate the discussion around the board or senior management team to get
both the issues onto the table and the actions debated and agreed. Our final
responsibility is to take personal responsibility for developing talent –
whether that be in great business-focused development programmes or in the role
that we play in bringing new talent into the organisation.

McGee, Marketing Director, Development Dimensions International (DDI) on giving
ownership to the line:

most important mission is to educate an organisation’s leaders that business
plans for growth and change simply don’t stand up without a serious
commitment of their time and energy – and the organisation’s money – to
developing people.  HR needs to be continually challenging the thinking of
finance, marketing and R&D peers as to how a company can grow profitably if
the people remain only as good as they were yesterday.

can facilitate the processes around identifying talent, diagnosing development
needs and proscribing solutions, so long as this is owned by the business, from
CEO down. Through strong relationships with the senior team, HR needs to help
leaders engage as coaches, mentors and, critically, arbiters and auditors of
development activity. HR can help create systems which measure progress, but
accountability for spotting, accelerating and retaining talent needs to reside
with managers at all levels.

can and should be experts in initiatives – a coaching programme, culture
change, performance management – which create the skills and embed the
priorities around talent management. But it has to learn to let go and get managers
to see and love these activities as business drivers – and part of ‘the day

Dr Phil Smith PhD, C Psychol,
FRAeS, TalentWorks, on clarity in the leadership team:

The most important
thing that HR can do to optimise talent management is to make
sure that the leadership and key decision makers are crystal clear about
the human capabilities needed to differentiate them through the invisible
barrier between competitive differentiation and competitive leadership. The
broadside "War for Talent" is not a differentiator any more, if it
ever was. Everyone wants the Best People working for them. The key is to have a
strategy for pinpointing the specific capabilities and competencies you need
for competitive differentiation, the costs and benefits of making versus buying
them and the resources to fulfil the plan that results. Talent Management in
the first instance is about creating the internal resource and momentum needed
to think strategically about what Talent really means to your organization. It
has to start with the leadership team – they are both the potentiating and the
limiting factor in the success of talent management initiatives.

This article was created for the Personnel Today HR
Directors Club

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